We’re taught from a very young age that the most important person in the whole wide world is you. Oftentimes this simple truth gets blurred, leaving us feeling empty and unfulfilled. As pharmacists it’s easy to see how this happens. You’re constantly taking care of other people, putting their needs ahead of your own. You stay late, you come in early. You skip your lunch break, your potty break, your water break…; In fact it’s quite likely the last time you referenced the word “break,” it had something to do with your back. In truth, making such sacrifices may be okay for a while, albeit necessary; however, doing so for long stretches of time while neglecting your own well being can have drastic consequences.
Why does it matter?
The simple answer is it matters because you matter, and the people that depend on you need you at your best. A persons’ well being is multifaceted, incorporating elements that are physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and economic in nature. If any one of these is ignored you open the door to anxiety, depression, anger, and general poor health. I once worked with a pharmacist at the tail end of his career who made a habit of throwing empty pill bottles against the wall of the pharmacy when he got agitated. Not exactly a healthy outlet, and not exactly a good start to his golden years.
What’s getting in the way?
If you’re finding yourself increasingly mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted, quick to anger perhaps, now might be a good time to reprioritize you. Ask yourself what might be hindering your ability to function or even flourish throughout the day. Is it something external, is it internal, or a combination of both? Some common obstacles to achieving a better well being include stress, poor work/life balance, and lack of health and fitness. One’s personality can even have an impact as those who identify as extroverts tend toward a more positive outlook, and therefore an improved quality of life.
What can you do about it?
The good news is you’re in control and it’s not too late! Once you’ve identified the areas of your life that have been neglected, you can begin to improve them. You may want to start with the basics by examining your sleep and dietary habits. You might also find ways to reduce stress through yoga or meditation. Start an exercise regimen and go slow. Remember the ten minutes you put in today is better than the zero you did yesterday. If you’re finding the work/life balance to be a problem, there are ways to improve that as well. Discover your passion and look for others who share that passion. Reach out to those individuals and take the necessary steps toward a career that is at once energizing and fulfilling. There are a host of resources out there and I encourage you to find them because you can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. And as a pharmacist, taking care of others is just what you do!
For additional information please check out these resources:
The Toll of Neglecting Your Wellness
Personality and Subjective Well-Being
Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL)
Anthony has spent more than two decades practicing pharmacy in the community setting assuming various roles with the major chains. He lives in New Hampshire with his two children.
In addition to writing, Anthony enjoys baseball, 80’s pop, and the pursuit of happiness.